Into An Arboretum

We've been talking this week about obstacles we face as writers and the need to persevere through them. But is there ever a time when God calls us to take a break or to get off the writing path altogether?

There was a long period in my life when God took me off the path. I had already been writing seriously for several years, had studied the craft, sent out manuscripts, garnered rejections, and was steadily improving enough to finally get a call from an editor at Steeple Hill. (You probably remember from an earlier post that I did not sell my book, but it was still exciting to have someone interested!)

About this time in my writing career as things were starting to look promising, my personal life measured off the charts with stress. My husband had recently graduated from Denver Seminary and taken a counseling job across the country. We had packed up and moved, were in the midst of settling in, trying to find a church, and trying to make new friends.

And I was 30 weeks pregnant with twins.

I slowed down too little, too late. At 31 weeks, I gave birth to premature, 3lb., tiny baby girls. I had to do one of the hardest things a mother ever has to do: go home from delivery empty-handed. Because of the delicate nature of their survival, my daughters had to stay in the NICU for an entire month. The NICU was a 30 minute drive from my new home. This wouldn't have been a problem if my two year old son hadn't needed me also.

All this to say, God wrenched me off the writing path and led me to an arboretum. In hindsight I can see his wisdom at work in taking me off. During the nine year hiatus, I learned so much about life, about relationships, and about hardships. God refreshed me and filled my writing reservoir so that now it is richer and deeper than ever before.

Only you can know for sure where God is leading you. But sometimes when the obstacles in our lives become insurmountable, perhaps we need to ask God if he wants us to step into an arboretum and rest.

What's your experience? Has God ever led you off the writing path?

P.S. Today, my twin daughters are beautiful nine year olds. God protected them and has brought them (and me) a long way!


  1. Beautiful picture! I wish I were there now...resting, renewing and listening to the "still small voice" of the Lord.

    I've been led off the writing path more times than I have been led on!

    Just when I was ready to retire, travel in my RV, and write full time, my late husband died suddenly while we were on a trip. I didn't write a word for months. And when I wrote again it was from a new and different voice.

    And I am aware of his grace and mercy in my life and how he's used that experience and other trials and tribulations to bless me in my life and in my writing.

    I also know the heartache of having to sign papers to take my new born son off life support and go home from the hospital without him. My heart aches for your experience.

  2. I loved this story. Wow---and you are still surviving with children that young?
    I think He is doing that now or will be soon as we are sending out applications all over the country.

  3. Just last year I experience a needed writing hiatus, also for family reasons, Jody. It made us stronger in the end, so I know God intervened. There are seasons, long and short, interspersed throughout life. We need to patient and obedient to what is to fill them for sure.

    I'm so glad to hear that your littel girl twins finally did come home with you! I can't imagine the angst you must have felt during the long month, torn between caring for your young son, and two precious helpless daughters.

  4. Hi Donna,
    Thank you for sharing. My heart feels for all you've been through. I can't imagine the grief and disappointment you must have felt on the trip when you lost your husband. Or the intense sorrow you must have felt when you lost your infant son.

    It's really neat to see how you've been able to let God use those painful times to deepen your faith and your writing.

  5. Hi Terri
    My daughters are actually nine years old now! And they are such a great help to me with my other younger children.

    Maybe God will have a time of rest for you coming up. If so, I hope you are able to grow and enjoy it.

  6. Hi Eileen,
    Sometimes it is hard to be obedient when God calls us to sacrifice something we're so passionate about (our writing). But in the end, I'm so thankful for the years of rest and growth. God enriched my life and now I have so much more to share in my writing.

  7. I've never been led off the writing path, but I've been led to an intersection and had to take a different path. I should probably say, I chose to take a different path. I used to write secular fiction because I wasn't a Christian until three years ago. I had written several books, had an agent but hadn't published anything yet. And I am so thankful. First of all, my writing wasn't that good. And secondly, the things I wrote were for me. For fun. For money. They weren't for a bigger purpose. Now I write inspirational fiction, knowing my primary purpose in it is to reach people and glorify God in the process. How wonderful it is when God intervenes, even when it changes our path completely!

  8. The idea of changing intersections is a really cool analogy, Cindy. (As you can tell by now, I just love analogies!) It truly is wonderful that God intervened and moved you to a completely different path!

  9. Yes, I've been led down other paths for awhile. I didn't write for 5 years. I needed the time to focus on being newly married, and then I had my daughter. I'm now getting back into writing, and it feels right. Each time I pray about it, I know it's the thing I need to be doing right now.

    Thanks for a great post. I am so happy your daughters are well. What fun! Twins. Wow. :)

  10. God has led me off the writing path numerous times - and then I've also personally diverged a few times myself lol!!
    It's great to be back on the path (for now!) and see where the Lord is going to take me next!

  11. Sounds like God was seasoning you to make you the writer you are today. Certainly he has taken me off the path before and I know through my struggles and much pain the Lord has made me a better writer. In fact the general fiction novel's I write would not have been possible without that pain and heartache. Now things seem to be looking up, I'm hoping I'm on that path again and that the Lord shed's his enormous mercy on me as always.

  12. Hi Lady Glamis,
    The birth of a child is definitely a great time for a rest from writing. And you're right, we need to be praying and sensitive to God's leading!

  13. Hi Jaime,
    It sure is easy to diverge, isn't it! I think the key is knowing when God wants us off, and when we're getting off track ourselves!

  14. Hi T.Anne,
    I imagine that's why so many agents and editors look for writers with established platforms. When we have more experiences to draw from, we become deeper writers.

  15. Oh Oh Oh! I almost mentioned this yesterday when I commented, but now I'm glad I didn't *grin*

    and okay, I sat there and wrote this long ole comment because this is a subject I'm *very* passionate about (I know... Krista? Passionate about something?? Go figure!)

    But I think it deserves my own blog post sometime so I'll post my mini-comment here.

    Yes, I have been diverted from writing for a period as well for about 7 to 8 years. I then used the excuse that "I'll write when the kids are older" but in 2007 God knocked on my heart and told me it was time so get hopping.

    So yes, God may take divert you to a place unexpected, but there's always a reason for everything:-)

  16. Hi Krista,
    Yes, do a post and share your story of God knocking you off the writing path! That would be great! I would love to hear your story!

  17. I feel like I just got ON the writing path! But I will say that I took a 4 month break in the fall, when school started back up (I work in an elementary school) and I had to work long hours at first and then my son got married. I still feel like I am just starting though, and excited about the journey. I like to think my journey is like traveling through life get the feel of the cool, soft blades of grass with an occassional sticker once in awhile that makes you wince and take notice! Ouch! ;)

  18. Hi Sherrinda,
    I just love your enthusiasm for writing! And I like the analogy of walking through the grass barefoot. Oooh what a great feeling in summer! I'll pray you won't step on too many prickers!

  19. Oh my goodness! How stressful that must have been for you. I'm so glad everything turned out alright.
    I think I'm only on my fourth year of writing, so God hasn't told me to stop yet. Maybe he will, but I hope he won't. We'll see. :-)
    Congrats on the phone call! I had no clue you were so close!


© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!